Bute-built boat saved from the axe

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A stunning yacht which was built in Port Bannatyne more than a century ago has been saved from the scrap-heap.

The Señora, which was designed by the renowned marine architect Alfred Mylne and built by Archibald Malcolm at Port Bannatyne in 1908, was discovered online by sailing enthusiast Kim Simpson - who thought she could be brought to Sunderland to provide training in traditional boatbuilding for unemployed people in the area.

Kim explained: “About two years ago I worked pro bono for my wife, who works for a company which helps people who otherwise couldn’t hold down a job get them back into society and work through training.

“While there I got talking to some of the guys about my interest in boats, and I was told that there was this boat on eBay for £35,000 - the Señora.

“We had to move fast though, as we were told that the boatyard she was sitting in in Newhaven was fed up with her, and that she’d soon be cut up for firewood.

“So we formed a trust and launched an appeal on GoFundMe, and in ten days we raised £20,000, and were able to buy her.”

The Trust still needs to raise £270,000 for the restoration of the yacht, as well as funds to help support 24 trainees - but Kim told us there’s been no shortage of interest in the project.

“There’s something about this idea which seems to grab people,” he said.

“There are people interested in heritage, in Sunderland itself, people interested in industrial regeneration, people who want to do something about social conditions in urban areas, people who love yachts. So all those things draw people in.”

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